As a writer and farmer, Wendell Berry has plowed the same plot of Kentucky hillside for nearly sixty years. The themes he tenderly brings to life in his novels and short stories—all of which are set in and around the fictional village of Port William, Kentucky—are the same he explores with rigor and subtlety in his nonfiction and poetry. His focus across all literary forms is community built on fidelity to neighbor, creation, and Creator.
Recently, Gracy Olmstead, a friend of Strong Towns, wrote an excellent piece about re-reading Berry’s classic essay, “Health Is Membership,” in light of the COVID-19 crisis. She begins, as Berry does, by reminding us that the word “health” stems from the same root as the word “whole.” To be healthy is to be whole. Therefore, full health—“health as wholeness”—can’t be considered in isolation from the health of the “culture, community, and ecology. It rejects the separation of family from family, as well as the specialized view of the self that severs body from soul—or even parts of our body from other parts.”
Read all of "We Approach Our World like a Machine" by John Pattison at Strong Towns.